The Riverside Theater has made it easier for Iowa City audiences to see a play anytime in the next nine months thanks to two new additions in the 2022-2023 season.
On November 4, the theater announced on Facebook that its season will now include “The Roommate” and “Everybody,” rounding out a season of previously five shows and their annual tradition of “Shakespeare in the Park” at Lower City Park.
The Press-Citizen spoke to Artistic Production Manager Adam Knight to find out more about the upcoming productions. But people don’t have to wait until next year to see a captivating show.
Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Flick hits audiences just a day after Thanksgiving.
What is “The Roommate” about?
It is a play, as per the Riverside Theater website, which has been described as “The Odd Couple” meets “Breaking Bad”.
The Roommate follows Sharon, who recently got divorced and whose son lives across the country. She is looking for a roommate for her now empty home and is soon joined by Robyn, who needs a place to hide and start over.
University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop graduate Jen Silverman wrote The Roommate and starred in Iowa City.
“The Roommate” was not performed in Iowa City, although it did take place and was inspired by the city, Knight said.
Released in 2017, the dark comedy is a two-person show directed by Nina Morrison.
It runs from April 28th to May 14th.
More:The Riverside Theater kicks off the new season with a comedy starring a chipmunk. Check out what’s to come.
What is “All” about?
A modern reef on the 15thth Century play Everyman follows the character of the same name as he explores the meaning of life as he meets his own end.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ “Everybody” was a 2018 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama.
People who see “Everybody” will never see the same production twice, Knight said. That’s because at each performance, the nine actors involved in the production are chosen by lottery to play the role of Everybody.
It’s on the playwright’s part, he said.
“It speaks to the theme of the play that life has been given a series of contingent circumstances, whether it’s through our birth or the place we’ve lived or how fate affects us,” Knight said.
“I think that’s what the playwright is all about, that we have to be prepared for anything and sometimes we’re the hero in our life story and sometimes we’re a supporting actor in someone else’s life story. We just have to show up and play our part.”
Knight said the play explores issues that are particularly relevant to today’s audience.
“Does the randomness of who gets sick matter? Who stays healthy? What does it mean when we face the great unknown of what happens after our time here is up?” he said.
Knight said it was exciting to bring nine actors onto the stage and showcase “the amazing talent” in the corridor.
“This is a play that really brings out each of the performers,” he said. “It’s a piece that allows for a lot of flexibility in the casting, which not only has to do with race and gender, but also with body types and age, and it’s a great opportunity to showcase great artists that are here and everyone is coming together and to tell a story .”
Directed by Bo Fraizer, “Everybody” marks his directorial debut at the Riverside Theatre.
It runs from July 21st to August 6th.
Next up is The Flick at the Riverside Theatre. Here’s what you can expect.
The story follows three young, underpaid clerks as they make their living tending to one of the last 35mm film projectors at a Massachusetts movie theater called The Flick.
Angie Toomsen, director, told Press-Citizen in an email that while digital innovation has grown significantly over the past decade, it has “created tremendous new ways of hiding from one another.”
“These characters have such a hard time articulating what’s on their mind and asking what they need, and their first response is to talk about movies they’ve seen. actors who love them,” she said.
Through movies, they can connect and find common ground, Toomsen said. This shared connection through the film adds another element for audiences to engage with in The Flick.
“I think the play is also kind of a love letter to the movies and to storytelling and how that can sometimes give us vocabulary and points of reference that we might not otherwise have,” Knight said.
More:Dreamwell Theater in Iowa City started 25 years ago. For two founders, the milestone is “amazing”.
Annie Baker’s The Flick won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The Pulitzer Prize website describes The Flick as a “thoughtful drama with well-crafted characters” that depicts “lives seldom seen on stage.”
Baker is a playwright and educator.
Toomsen said she wanted to direct this production because Baker’s work “reflects the way we express, or don’t express, our wants and needs” in our increasingly digital world.
“Her characters and scenarios are poetically mundane and familiar, yet reveal an almost operatic emotional undercurrent,” she said. “Her writing is very layered and offers so many opportunities for character development.”
The Flick runs from November 25th to December 11th. Visit the Riverside Theater website to purchase tickets.
Paris Barraza covers entertainment, lifestyle and arts in the Iowa City Press-Citizen. You can reach her at [email protected] or (319) 519-9731. Follow her on Twitter @ParisBarraza.